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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

FOSSIL WHALES                                  383

may be a colour adaptation. But the extant accounts of the
colour of this Dolphin vary—quite possibly in accordance with
real variations, sncii as are exhibited by Inia already rpoken of.
Pontoporia "blainmllii is a smallish Dolphin some 4 feet *', length.
Fossil Odontocetes. — Several of the existing genera of
IDolpMns are also known in a fossil condition, as well as
Ziphioid Whales closely related to existing forms. We shall
deal here only with a few genera of fossil Odontocetes which
depart in. their structure from existing forms.
The genus Physodon is Miocene, and lias been f jund in
Patagonia. It appears to be most nearly allied to the Phy.** ;rida<?,
but should probably forma distinct family, JPItysfirfifn v,;~;, :.ot ?c
large as Physeter, the skull measuring only fr-rune 10 fe^t. It
thus comes nearer in point of size to JCogla, and it is interceding
to note that its relatively-shorter snout is also suggestive of the-
dwarf Cachalot. The general outline of the skull is, however,
more like that of P7i-yseter9 and there is the same deep cavity for
the lodgment of spermaceti. The main feature of interest in
the skull is the presence of teeth in both jaws, and the fact that
two or three are lodged in the premaxiliae. This is precisely
what is found in the most ancient "Whales, the Zeuglodonts.
Extinct Dolphins, apparently referable to the Platanistidae, are
the most numerous among the earlier forms of Cetaceans, and it
is significant that the earliest known, forms of these go back to
the Eocene.
The genus Xniopsis of Mr. Lydekker,1 with one species, I.
caucasica, comes from rocks which seem to be of that age. The
back part of the skull of this animal, the only part of the skull
known, has the same squarish excavation of the maxillaries that
characterises Inia and Pontoporia. Its lower jaw was slender
and possessed numerous teeth,
The long snout and-jaws of Platanistids, especially exaggerated
in Pontoporia among living forms, are constantly found in these
Tertiary Platanistids,
SurJiinodelphis had a beak three and a half times the length
of the cranium, whereas in Pontoporia the proportions are as 2 : 1.
The teeth too were very numerous,
The genus ^Arf/yrocet'M^, from Patagonian Tertiary strata, was
an animal about as large as the existing Dolphin. It had the
1 Proc. Zovl. Soc, 1892, p. 558.